Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things. But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen. Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.
You'd Be MineFeatured
You'd Be Mine
YOU’D BE MINE by Erin Hahn is a YA contemporary romance set in the confines of country music, road life, and hidden demons. The story has a dual point of view between Annie, a budding starlet on the cusp of her potential, and Clay, a bona fide megastar at risk of losing it all if he doesn’t clean up his act. Insert some sparks between the two and it’s pretty clear where this story is headed. Despite that, Hahn does a good job of getting us there.
Both Annie and Clay are full of depth, way more than I expected when I started the book. The first one hundred pages are a little slow and the dialogue feels off, so I was concerned I’d spend the entire novel disconnected from these strangers, but I was wrong. They each have their own internal struggles they must confront before they’re able to be together and we get to witness that journey. They are melodramatic in moments, but they’re country music stars after all.
The ending of the novel is sweet and wraps the tale up with a nice button, but I wanted more. We invest a lot of time waiting for Annie and Clay to finally get it together, so I needed a bigger payoff. A scene where they professed their love directly to each other privately, instead of through other characters or at an event, would have been preferable. With that being said, for the last two-thirds of the book, Hahn had me feeling all the feelings. I was swooning along with Annie, annoyed when Clay was being an idiot, and protective when they were attacked by other characters.
Fitz was hands down my favorite person in the book. He brought such a light and also a lesson in priorities. Kacey and Jason were less developed and often didn't say what they were thinking to Annie, which read more like a plot device than what people would actually do in that situation. However, Hahn seemed pretty knowledgeable about the country music world, and whether it’s from experience or research, the circumstances were believable.
Overall, YOU’D BE MINE is the perfect summertime beach read. I’m not even a fan of country music, but this book made me want to be. It will also appeal to those who liked A STAR IS BORN (2018) or WALK THE LINE (2005). Hahn dedicates the book to her late grandmother, hoping she’d be proud. In my mind, there’s no doubt she would be.
"You'd Be Mine" follows two young country music stars on their path to self-discovery, dealing with past family deaths, and romance. Clay Coolidge is a sensation- he seemingly has it all, but he hasn't coped with the deaths of his grandfather or brother, who died as a soldier in Iraq. He deals with it by drinking- which is an unhealthy behavior, he knows it, but he doesn't know what to do about it. After an incident with underage drinking (he is underage) and a fight, Clay's label is ready to drop him and cancel his tour. They offer him a second chance if he can get Annie Mathers to sign onto the tour.
Annie knows she is ready to sign and begin touring, but she has a lot of fears about it. Her parents were country music royalty until they committed double suicide when Annie was 13. Annie is afraid of turning into her parents and ruining her life. She clings to religion and an unwillingness to drink or participate in those aspects of music star life to prevent what happened to her parents from happening to her. When Clay comes knocking, Annie is up for the tour, but afraid of having a relationship.
Over the summer of the tour, both Annie and Clay must face down their demons and begin to heal if they have any hope of a future. Told in alternating parts, we see how they each must confront and deal with their pasts. While I found the first third a little slow, the pace sped up and got more intense later in the book. By the middle, I was pretty invested in Annie and Clay as well as a potential relationship. Their journeys to healing were really powerful to watch. This is a very angsty and push-pull romance that builds somewhat slowly- though I wouldn't want it to go faster. They both have a lot to deal with and this doesn't happen overnight.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and watching Annie and Clay begin to grow up and move forward in their lives and with their music. Be prepared for a somewhat rough and angsty but real and intense ride to romance with content warnings for alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicides (past).
Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.